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Updated 23 Apr 2018

This factory will inspire you to re-think your facility and its environmental impact

As the globe celebrates Earth Day this year, why not take some time to reflect on how you can reduce your manufacturing facility’s effect on the planet? 

Pritesh Ruthun, 16 March 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution contributes to 6.7% of all deaths worldwide – including pollution caused by industrial activity.

As you celebrate Earth Day, why not consider your factory’s impact on the environment and how you can reduce your emissions as a key strategic undertaking, while growing output and chasing those much-needed revenues.

But, how do you grow output and achieve revenues if you don’t drive up production – pumping out more pollutants in the process? Well, maybe you need to re-think your factory’s future from the ground up. Ryuichi Ashizawa, CEO of Ryuichi Ashizawa Architect & Associates (RAA) has a plan for you.

Related: The real reason why you’re falling behind in the global manufacturing race


At RIFF Warsaw 2016, Ryuichi Ashizawa discussed his attempt at what factories of the future should look like. He’s working on converting an existing factory in Malaysia into an environmentally-friendly factory of the future that’s harnessing the power of the jungle to reduce its emissions.

Meet the ‘Factory on the Earth’

Eco -friendly -manufacturing

Converting an existing factory into a factory of the future won’t be an easy decision to make, but there’s no arguing that you’re going to have to make a reduction in emissions if the earth’s environment is to be sustained.

Ashizawa says that his company wants to: ‘Revolutionise the idea of what makes a factory’.

Leveraging off the jungle around the existing factory, RAA intends to reduce the production of harmful carbon emissions expelled into the environment.

“RAA from the start wanted to create a building that would add value not only to the environment and the surroundings, but also the people that would be using it,” says

RAA’s future-factory in a nutshell:

  • Developing sustainable and natural spaces was RAA’s motivation to transform a factory that would be otherwise monotonous.
  • At the same time, improving and promoting production and motivation from the workers remained a priority.
  • This was achieved by creating a large green roof, an extension of the ground floor that shelters the working areas below.
  • The roof functions with the natural environment becoming a part of it, water from rainfall is trapped there and it travels through the structure. Light is also naturally reflected towards the interior.
  • The interior is filled with a ‘forest’ of pillars to support the roof and energy is re-generated through natural and technological means.
  • Finally, natural ventilation enters through its multi-story building, which also is positioned in a way that would prevent solar impact in the office complex. When wind passes through the factory’s ponds, a cold breeze refreshes the office spaces from the Malaysian heat too.

Related: Your tailor-made past, present and future look at South Africa’s manufacturing sector 

If you prefer tech solutions

If you’d rather avoid turning your factory into a jungle, there are a number of tech solutions available to make your factory more efficient. As you stand at the dawn of Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, you can use the Internet-of-Things, Cloud-computing, data analytics, and on-demand robotics to produce more from less.

Paul Hertzog at the P2P Foundation says: “The real revolutionary potential for Industry 4.0 is not that it can improve efficiency in the old paradigm, but that it can do something radically new. I believe that Industry 4.0 can (and should) play a key role in solving climate change and pollution.”

Considering the fact that consumers want more choices, and on top of this want to personalise their choices too, manufacturing business have no choice but to shift into a higher, more efficient gear.

The good news is that you can deliver on consumer expectations, make less of an impact on the environment and achieve the revenues you want to achieve. It just requires a rejuvenated strategic approach toward how you’re shaping your factory of the future.


The earth’s becoming increasingly polluted and manufacturing organisations must play a key role in reducing emissions. Smart, green, architecture can help, but there’s also tech at your disposal thanks to the rise of Industry 4.0. When crafting your growth tactics, why not keep your effect on the planet top of mind, and aim to play your part in reducing environmental impact?

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About the author

Pritesh Ruthun

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